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Steely Dan - Alive in America CD (album) cover


Steely Dan


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.75 | 33 ratings

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4 stars Alive in America is a live album released in 1995 by US pop/ rock act Steely Dan. Steely Dan made seven slightly jazzy pop/ rock studio albums up through the seventies before splitting the band ( or actually project at that stage) up after their last album Gaucho (1980). They have since made two comeback albums in Two Against Nature (2000) and Everything Must Go (2003). Alive in America is something of an oddity in Steely Danīs discography as they didnīt tour much after the first couple of albums. I guess they decided that their fans finally should get the chance to see if they could re-produce some of their very studio effect layered songs in a live environment.

And boy do they succeed IMO. This is a powerful live album with a great mood. Thereīs no talk which could have made it even better but on the other hand if you havenīt got anything clever or funny to say between the songs I think itīs better to let the songs speak for themselves. Steely Dan do just that. With them on stage they have some excellent musicians which includes a brass section of three and female backing singers. Itīs noteworthy that Peter Erskine ( Weather Report, Kate Bush..etc.) plays drums on the album. His performance on Alive in America is outstanding IMO.

The songs selection is great, but most of Steely Danīs output from the seventies could have been included so it must have been a hard pick. I really enjoy Bodhisattva which has a great instrumental section with a ripping Walter Becker guitar solo. Walter Becker generally plays some excellent guitar parts on the album. I enjoy Book of Liars where Walter Becker sings too. Iīve heard others complain about his voice but I donīt share that opinion. The song is from Walter Beckerīs first solo studio album 11 Tracks of Whack (1994). Donald Fagen sings with conviction and smooth jazzy techniques on all other songs on Alive in America. A strong vocalist that one.

The production really gives Alive in America the final lift. What a wonderful live sound. Iīm impressed.

I havenīt given any of Steely Danīs studio album more than 3 stars. Both Countdown To Ecstasy , The Royal Scam and Aja are great albums but lacked the last for me to give them a 4 star rating. This is not the case with Alive in America which I think deserves a 4 star rating. If youīre new to the band check out any of the three mentioned studio albums but preferably Alive in America first.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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